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Martha Graham Dance Company 2010
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Author:  Francis Timlin [ Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Martha Graham Dance Company 2010

The Graham Company performs at Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. Alicia Greenleigh previews the program in the Salt Lake Tribune.

SL Tribune

Author:  Rosella [ Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Martha Graham Dance Company 2010

The Martha Graham Dance Company has just concluded its New York season prsenting a thematic programme titled "The Political Dance Project", that included a new collaboration between the Company and SITI Company directed by Anne Bogart for the creation of a work inspired by Graham's landmark 1938 piece, "American Document" . It was an exciting and innovative experience and will soon report about it. Here is the programme they presented at the Joyce Theatre in New York:

June 8–13, Joyce Theater

June 8, 11, 12 eve

American Document (2010)
Sketches from 'Chronicle'

June 9, 13 aft

Dance is a Weapon
The Revolutionary
Tenant of the Street
I Ain't Got No Home
Time is Money
Panorama (All City)
'Steps in the Street' from Chronicle
'Prelude to Action' from Chronicle
Appalachian Spring

June 10

Panorama (All City)
Appalachian Spring
Lamentation Variations
Sketches from 'Chronicle'

June 12 aft

Prelude and Revolt
Montage of Three Denishawn-Style Solos
(The Incense, Gnossienne, Tanagra)
Serenata Morisca
Panorama (All City)
Rediscovering Martha Graham's 'American Document'
Appalachian Spring

June 13 eve

American Document (2010)
Lamentation Variations
Sketches from 'Chronicle'

Author:  Rosella [ Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Martha Graham Dance Company 2010

Here are the websites of both the Martha Graham Dance Company and SITI Company:

Author:  Rosella [ Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Martha Graham Dance Company 2010

Here a preview from the NY Times:

Integrating Ensembles to Build a Hybrid Work
Published: June 10, 2010

After proudly making note of the Martha Graham Dance Company’s 84th season, the troupe’s artistic director, Janet Eilber, allowed herself a small joke, telling the audience at the Joyce Theater, “We do have a different group of dancers with us tonight” rather than the original members. ... raham.html

Author:  Rosella [ Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Martha Graham Dance Company 2010

Here a beautiful video of the "Political Dance Project":

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Martha Graham Dance Company 2010

In the New York Observer, Robert Gottlieb reviews "American Document" and "Three Sketches from Chronicle" as performed by the Graham Company at the Joyce Theatre in June 2010. (Scroll down to the end of the review.)

NY Observer

Author:  Rosella [ Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Martha Graham Dance Company 2010

Thanks Francis. Here is a brilliant review by Marina Harss:

One might think that the mission of the Martha Graham Dance Company would be very simple: to present the works of Martha Graham. After all, this American icon created such enduring and original dance-dramas as “Appalachian Spring,” “Night Journey,” “Lamentation, and “Errand in the Maze.” Her influence can be felt in everyone from Paul Taylor and Merce Cunningham to Anthony Tudor and Bette Davis. ... ern-dance/

Author:  Rosella [ Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Martha Graham Dance Company 2010

Another review, in this case by Robert Johnson:

NEW YORK — Every dancer must have physical courage, the willingness to leap and risk her skin.
The artists of the Martha Graham Dance Company, which opened on Tuesday at the Joyce Theater, hold nothing back. ... ny_re.html

Author:  Rosella [ Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Martha Graham Dance Company 2010

Martha Graham Dance Compnay artistic director, Janet Eilber, interviewed by Julie Bloom:

This week the Martha Graham Dance Company debuts a new approach to its overall mission. The company, which has been the dance-world guinea pig when it comes to grappling with the challenges of maintaining a company after a founding choreographer’s death, now wants audiences to see the troupe as a living “museum,” keeping the classics alive while also offering new works inspired by them. ... ?ref=dance

Author:  Rosella [ Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Martha Graham Dance Company 2010

Review by Apollinaire Scherr:

Janet Eilber, artistic director of the Graham troupe since it returned from the brink a few years ago, is the kind of thoughtful contrarian that the maverick choreographer would have appreciated. ... abdc0.html

Author:  Rosella [ Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Martha Graham Dance Company 2010


Martha Graham Dance Company
Joyce Theatre, New York, June 9th, 2010

Bare-chested Tadej Brnik is on one of his knees, planting his fists on the stage floor. His is an emblematic, almost heroic gesture and is part of Isadora Duncan’s “The Revolutionary”, a solo she created in 1924. It represents the perfect start for the Martha Graham Dance Company’s “Dance is a Weapon” evening, which is part of their Political Dance Project for this season at the Joyce. The association of the terms ‘dance’ and ‘weapon’ is not very common, but has firm roots in the history of modern dance as it goes back to the 1930s, when numerous dance groups formed to promote dance and social justice in the wake of the Depression. These artists believed that culture, and, in particular dance, could become a kind of weapon in order for them to change the world. One of these groups, the New Dance Group, survived all the others and produced important pieces, like Jane Dudley’s “Time is Money” (1934) and Sophie Maslow’s “I Ain’t Got No Home” (1941), that are still uncanningly relevant in the present time of global crisis. Both Dudley and Maslow were also members of the Martha Graham Group, as the then all female company was called. So it is no coincidence that, for this season, the Martha Graham Dance Company has decided to produce a programme parltly inspired by their work. Furthermore, Graham herself created some pieces, like “Panorama” (1935) and “Chronicle” (1936), that reflected the cultural turmoil of the 1930s.

Inspired by the “Dance is a Weapon – New Dance Group, 1932-1955” 2007 exhibition, created by Victoria Geduld and held at the Centre National de la Danse, in Paris, the evening featured a multimedia introduction to each piece. Each interlude consisted of a series of archival photographs and video fragments, commented by Ellen Graff, whose 1997 book, “Stepping Left – Dance and Politics in New York City, 1928-1942”, marked a significant change in unveiling the dynamics of this period. In Eve Gentry’s “Tenant of the Street” (1938), Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch shows a tense body with arms straight in front of her and legs slowly moving forward. She too has her fists on the stage floor, as if the void desperation of the life she is interpreting could still catch some glimpses of hope. Sophie Maslow’s “I Ain’t Got No Home”, is performed by a sparkling Lloyd Knight. It was created a few years after Gentry’s dramatic solo, but has a different tone, thanks also to Woodie Guthrie’s music, which gives the title to the piece. Jane Dydley’s “Time is Money” is danced by a very intense Maurizio Nardi, whose mechanical movements, in the opening phrase, recall the minute hand of a clock, as if to highlight how time, this human construct, has the ability to control and trap all our energies. The title, in this case, comes from Sol Furnaroff’s homonymous poem, which was read by Margaret Klenck as the soundscore to the piece.

These four captivating solo works are then followed by two Graham’s group pieces, “Panorama” and part two and three of “Sketches from Chronicle”. “Panorama” was restaged for thirthy-three students coming from various New York high schools. The sound of the drums, the dancers’ choral movements and their flaming red costumes represent the main coordinates for this piece. The former creates its marching rhythm and the latter two its visual force. Graham first created this piece with the students at Bennington and the Company is now following this track with the involvement of non-professional dancers. “Panorama” recalls what Dudley wrote in “The Mass Dance” in 1934: “Large groups of lay dancers, even at times the most superficially trained people can by careful direction, set simple but clear patterns of group movement into a form that presents our revolutionary ideas movingly and meaningfully”. The next piece, the last two parts of “Sketches from Chronicle”, is a hit among the audience. I would have preferred to see the three parts of the piece all together, but the last two sections are of great impact. They seem to amplify the energy captured by the previous solo pieces, with their suffering and, at the same time, strong group of women. They move across the stage in a more articulate manner with respect to the dancers in “Panorama”, and, once again, the 'fil rouge' of the evening, the vigorous fist, is used as significant emblem. Miki Orihara is particularly compelling in guiding the group in section two, “Steps in the Street”, and Jennifer De Palo extraordinary in the following part, “Prelude to Action”.

The last performance is a Graham’s classic, “Appalachian Spring” (1944). In this case, the Company director, Janet Eilber, does the introduction. As she says, “Appalachian Spring” may sound out of place in a programme dedicated to politics, but it is important to remember when it was created. The piece, in fact, reflects the North-American pioneer spirit, and its empowering optimism as necessary balms during World War II. Seen in this light, the dancers in the piece are not just the representatives of a frontier community, but also of a society in need of strength and courage to face the hardship of the world conflict. The Bride was convincingly danced by Blakeley White-McGuire, but the Husbandman, Samuel Pott, was a bit too stiff in his movements. Maurizio Nardi was brilliant as the Revivalist, his gloomy solo well portraying the anxiety of this torn character, and Katherine Crockett was a measured and loving Pioneering Woman.

Author:  Rosella [ Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Martha Graham Dance Company 2010

Here is the link to the video of Dudley's "Time is Money", reconstructed by 360 Degree Dance Company:

Here the website of the Company:

Author:  Rosella [ Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Martha Graham Dance Company 2010

Here are the links to Vevlyn Wright's two articles (preview and review) on the MGDC NY season: ... still.html ... esent.html

Author:  Rosella [ Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Martha Graham Dance Company 2010


SITI Company and Martha Graham Dance Company
Joyce Theatre, New York, June 11th, 2010

For its 2010 New York season, the Martha Graham Dance Company embarked on a collaboration with theatre director Anne Bogart and her SITI Company. The idea was to recreate Graham’s landmark 1938 piece, “American Document”, a work that represented a radical change in Graham’s dance approach, both in terms of form and content. In the 1930s, Graham’s style was abstract, synthetic, and her Group was made of women only. With “American Document”, it became more theatrical and men were welcomed in the Group.

In particular, for this piece, Graham used the problematic structure of the minstrel show, a variety show with white men in blackface. The minstrel was characterised, among other things, by an interlocutor who spoke words during the performance and a walk around of all the characters at the beginning and end of the piece. At the time, Graham was looking for a new frame to create a North-American dance language and found in the minstrel a suitable structure, in spite of its racist stereotype. As Susan Manning has noted, “Graham’s performative strategies (…) staged race in contradictory ways”, because, even though she did not use the device of blackface for her white dancers, she had them represent different ethnic groups like Native-Americans and African Americans. The piece was, in fact, divided into sections dedicated to various aspects of North-American culture such as the Declaration of Independence, Puritanism, Slavery and Native-Americans. Each section was enriched by words elaborated by Graham herself in collaboration with literary critic Francis Fergusson and by passages from historical documents like the Declaration itself, preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards’s sermons, the Song of Songs, Red Jacket of the Senecas’ discourse and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

The effect produced was quite idiosyncratic as, in Kimerer LaMothe’s words, dance appeared “integral to the process of interpreting American documents”. Thanks to the use of words, Bogart found herself at ease with “American Document”, and her collaborator, playwright Charles Mee, well recreated the idea of the 1938 piece, by using extracts from the writing of Jack Kerouac, Walt Whitman, Betty Smith, Sinclair Lewis, and a series of Internet blogs. Bogart loosely borrowed the minstrel structure from the 1938 piece with interesting results.

For example, the Interlocutor, played by Stephen Webber, was not the only speaking character. He sometimes had a dialogue with an actor or dancer, or he even remained silent while some other members of the two companies spoke. In this sense, it was interesting to listen to Graham dancers speak, and nice to see SITI Company actors dance some Graham steps, as it happened in the opening walk around, during which, together with the dancers, they walked across the stage with their arms up and slightly bent, and their hands cupped, in pure Graham style.

Bogart also mingled the spoken words with the dancing, by having the Interlocutor, and the other speaking characters, walking on stage. In Graham’s piece, the Interlocutor usually stood aside. Furthermore, sometimes the words were literally taken out of a briefcase carried by actor Kelly Maurer. In one instance she took out a piece of paper and spoke a monologue on the discrimination of Muslim women, standing with her back to the audience. The briefcase was the first thing the audience saw on stage and it evoked gloomy associations in connection with the 2008 global financial crisis which is still badly hitting the world economy. However, Bogart’s message was of hope, because she turned the briefcase into a well of inspiring words.

In Graham’s “American Document” there was no irony, while Bogart’s piece made a witty use of it. One of the funniest scenes in the piece occurred between dancer Tadej Brdnik and actor Leon Ingulsrud. The latter danced around, speaking Kerouac’s words, and the former corrected his movements. Theirs was not a real dialogue as it took place on two parallel planes. It recalled the Puritan duet in Graham’s 1938 piece, a duet between Graham herself and Erick Hawkins, her partner on and off stage. In that duet, the Interlocutor alternated lines from the Song of Songs with those from Jonathan Edwards’s sermons. The former lines spoke of sensual love, while the latter ones of its denial, so that a contrapuntal pattern was created. The video of this duet is the only frame that has been preserved of the entire piece; it was reconstructed for Bogart’s work and beautifully performed by Samuel Pott and Katherine Crockett.

In Bogart’s "American Document", the Graham technique looked different. It was almost ethereal and lacked Graham’s visceral depth. This was also due to James Schuette’s costumes, pretty colourful dresses for women, jeans, tank tops, and open shirts for men. They were perfect to represent the identity of a common North-American, but they were not thought with Graham’s technique in mind, especially with regards to women. Graham always paid attention to her costumes, and, at the beginning of her career, she even created and sew them herself. Even when she decided to use period costumes, as it happened with “Letter to the World”, a specific attention was paid to outlining the female dancers’ hips, because of the so called pelvic movement which is at the basis of her language. In Bogart’s piece, the female dancers’ hips were hidden by the skirts of their dresses and any pelvic thrust lost its intensity.

In one section was this aspect secondary. It was the moment dedicated to the Iraq war. Fragments from soldiers’ internet diaries were spoken while dancers and actors walked forward forming a line. The Interlocutor hit the drum on his lap as if it were a gun shooting bullets in a war trench. Some of the dancers and actors fell as if mortally hit, while one of them took turns in uttering the soldiers’ words. It was a dramatic scene, and the dresses did not alter its effect.

Graham was always critical of wars and their inherent violence. One of her manifestoes, in this sense, was “Chronicle”, created in 1936, in response to the rise of Fascism in Europe. Parts of this piece were reconstructed by Terese Capucilli, Carol Fried, Yuriko, Sophie Maslow, Diane Gray and Graham herself, and retitled “Sketches from Chronicle”. It represented the ideal closure for the evening. It has been the closing piece in many seasons of the Company and not by chance. It is such a powerful piece it leaves its mark on the audience’s mind long after the actual performance. It is close in time to Graham’s “American Document”, but is very different from it as its style is abstract and essential. Divided into three parts, ‘Spectre 1914’, ‘Steps in the Street’ and ‘Prelude to Action’, it features an army of women fighting for their survival.

The first part is a solo which was impressively danced by Blakeley White-McGuire. It is revelatory of Graham’s use of costumes. The protagonist wears a very long and wide skirt open at the back and whose colour is black outside and red inside. As she grabs and throws it in the air, in a gesture recalling Loie Fuller, she almost becomes a flag which stands for the horror of any war. The second part is a group piece made of many kinds of walkings. Particularly striking was the opening walk, done backwards with a bent arm close to the dancers’ chest. The third part marks a crescendo, a “possible answer” to the pain and madness of war, as Graham Company artistic director Janet Eilber said in her introduction to the piece. The beforehand suffering army of women was here guided by a white dressed White-McGuire in high-paced phrases. Unity gives people strength to face any difficult situation.

This was an exciting and thought-provoking evening. Bogart managed to delve into Graham's world with excellent results and her experiment represents a catalyst that lets us see Graham with new eyes.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Martha Graham Dance Company 2010

In the Seattle Times, Jean Lenihan reviews the Graham Company's performance at the University of Washington's Meany Hall on Thursday, November 4, 2010.

Seattle Times

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